MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian parliamentary panel on Friday accused Deutsche Welle, Germany’s state-owned public broadcaster, of inciting protests in Moscow, a claim the broadcaster denies.
The committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament charged that the broadcaster encouraged the protests in Moscow against the authorities’ refusal to register some independent and opposition candidates for the city council vote held earlier this month.
The candidates’ dismissal triggered a series of opposition protests in the Russian capital over the summer, the largest show of discontent against President Vladimir Putin’s rule in seven years.
The parliamentary panel said it will propose that the Foreign Ministry strip DW of its accreditation over the alleged violation of the Russian law.
The broadcaster responded by saying that its Broadcasting Council “rejects the accusation that DW interfered in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation.”
A spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it was confident of Deutsche Welle’s journalistic integrity and stood ready to support the broadcaster.
“We have indicated several times here that we are concerned about press and media freedom in Russia in general,” the spokesman, Rainer Breul, told reporters in Berlin. “Now Deutsche Welle is affected by this.”
“We support Deutsche Welle and have the fullest confidence in its journalistic independence and the quality journalism it stands for,” he said. “We will, should it be required (and) in consultation with Deutsche Welle, support it where this may be necessary.”